San Francisco zoo safety renovations near completion
By Mike Aldax
February 7, 2008
Work is mostly done on safety enhancements to the San Francisco
Zoo's big cat exhibit, which has been closed since the Christmas
Day escape of a tiger that killed a boy and mauled his two friends
before police shot it dead.
Workers raised the concrete moat wall surrounding four lion and
tiger grottos about 4 feet, which meets the minimum Association
of Zoos and Aquariums guideline of 16 feet and 4 inches, authorities
The zoo installed glazing and fencing on top of the wall to extend
the barrier height to 19 feet. It also added an electric shock-emitting
wire and new glass barriers to ensure the cats can't escape.
Further renovations, scheduled for completion in March, will
include replacing temporary fencing with stainless steel wire
mesh and the installation of an electrified wire along the finger
walls of the grotto, the zoo said.
While the work continues, staff is considering when to reopen
the exhibit to the public.
The process of reintroducing the big cats to the outdoor portion
of their exhibit will be slow and gradual, said Manuel Mollinedo,
the zoo's president and executive director.
"The lions need to adjust to the upgrades to their exhibits
and the surrounding areas," he said.
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is overseeing
the renovations, C+A Architects designed them and Yerba Buena
Engineering and Construction Inc. is carrying out the construction.